Best Cable Lat Pulldown Machines Reviews
updated January 1, 2019
Adding a high pulley cable machine to your home gym will open up a whole new world of resistance exercise. Not only will you be able to blast your back with lat pulldowns, but tricep pushdowns, cable curls, upright rows and a whole host of other constant tension moves will be within your grasp. The quality on offer, however, is decidedly mixed. In this article we discover the top Lat Pulldown machines on the market.
The best lat pulldown machine on the market today is the Powertec Fitness Lat Machine which has a slimline design built into the machine, allowing the set to be locked into position or pivoted outward. Our next favorite is the Valor Fitness CB-12, with its high tension nylon pulleys, solid construction and 250 pound plate capacity.
A Quick Overview of the Top 10
Lat Pulldown Benefits
The lat pulldown machine is a multipurpose unit that will bring the benefits of cable exercise into your home gym. As well as the basic lat pulldown, you’ll be able to do such exercises as triceps pushdowns, cable curls, upright rowing and seated rowing. This allows you to stretch, contract and expand the muscles of your upper body in a way that you can’t get with free weights.
A major benefit of doing cable resistance exercises is that they provide you with constant resistance in both the positive (lifting) and the negative (lowering) portion of the exercise. That allows you to place a lot more tension on the muscle through the entire range of motion. Using cables also forces you to follow the proper line of motion when doing an exercise, so you can’t cheat your way through a rep.
- Additional benefit of cable exercise
- Able to do a range of exercise for various muscle groups
- Allows to stretch, contract and expand the muscles
- Provide constant resistance in lifting as well as dropping motions
- Allows to properly follow line of motion
Our favorite budget pulldown machine is the PLA200X Lat Attachment from Powerline, which gives you a solid frame, high and low pulleys and a smooth cable motion for well under three hundred dollars!
To help you to make a wise buying decision, we’ve rated the Top 10 on the basis of price and durability. We’b then given each one an overall rating out of 5. In the following section we provide in depth reviews of each product.
Review of the Best Lat Pulldown Machines
The Rogue Fitness Stand alone Lat Pulldown machine is heavy duty beast of a machine designed for the serious weight trainer. It features 3 inch x 3 inch 11-gauge steel framing that can be affixed to the wall (a power rack attachment model os also available). It comes with a 300 pound weight stack that goes up in increments of 10 pounds. The high and low pulleys all features 6 inch wheels with UHMW covers.
The Monster Lat Pulldown machine comes with a stainless steel black pulldown bar, a diamond tread adjustable footplate, custom built carabiners and an extra comfortable ergonomically designed seat with leg lock pad. Overall this unit is commercial gym quality, but be warned - it has a price to match!
The Powertec Fitness Lat Pulldown machine is a stylish, slimline cable machine that provides you with a very smooth glide motion through the cabling. This is a plate loaded lat pulldown machine. It features unique load slide rods which allow easy accessibility, precise gliding and smooth operation. Ring stoppers on the slide rods prevent the weight from over extending.
The seat of the Powertec Fitness Lat Pulldown is actually built into the machine, allowing the set to be locked into position or pivoted outward to open the machine for more exercise options.
The Valor Fitness CB-12 is a free weight machine that has a sturdy square tubing frame made of two inch by to inch, twelve gauge tubing. It has a low pulley, which comes with it’s own short bar handle. You are able to add 250 pounds of weight plates onto this machine and it even comes with plates storage pins. These also act as a counter balance when doing low cable exercises.
The seat on the Valor Fitness CB-12 is made of high density foam and is contoured for comfort. You can adjust the seat to four positions to provide just the right degree of extension. The high tension nylon pulleys are very durable and provide a smooth operation.
The Vanswe Lat Pulldown Machine features a sturdy two by two inch, 1/8 inch thick heavy gauge steel frame. It features both a high and low pulley. The high quality ball bearing pulleys, wide grip bar and nylon bushings ensure that you get a smooth lat pulling experience.
The machine is easy to assemble and takes up very little space. This unit is exceptionally well priced, making it our best value cable pulldown bar machine. Though this lat pulldown machine does not come with supplied plates it does cater to both standard and Olympic plates thanks to the provided 2-inch adaptor sleeves.
The Valor Fitness BD-7 with Lat Pulldown is a full power rack that comes with a lat pulldown attachment. It provides you with a 2 inch by 2 inch steel frame. The lat pulldown station securely attaches to the frame.
The nylon bushings in the pulley system are patented to provide the smoothest operation. This means that there is no jerkiness with the risk of the cable coming off the pulley.
The design of the lat tower provides you with a greater range of motion than most machines offer, allowing you to work through a full contraction and extension. This machine has a plate loading bar.
The Powerline PLA200X is a lat attachment for the PPR200X. This extremely solid and secure attachment comes with a both a high and low pulley station. The one inch diameter weight post will take both standard and olympic weights plates. This attachment features nylon coated, aircraft quality 2200-pound test cables. The unit measures 84 inches in height and comes with a lifetime warranty.
The Powerline PLA200X features quality bushings and cable to provide a very smooth motion. It is very easy to set up the attachment, which is a great space saver when you are restricted for space. Triceps pushdowns can also be done very effectively on this machine.
The Deltech Fitness Lat Attachment fits onto any Deltech Fitness bench. It provides you with a one and three-quarter inch square mounting post that securely attaches to the main body of the bench.
High quality nylon cabling and bushes ensures a smooth, jerk free pulling motion on this lat pulldown attachment. The height of the attachment is adjustable to suit different user requirements. The unit is finished in a durable powder-coat paint.
The XMark plate loaded lat pulldown exercise machine comes with both a high and low pulley. It has an impressive 400 pound weight stack capacity. It can be used with both conventional and olympic plates, thanks to the two 14 inch olympic plate adaptors which are included. The square steel mainframe is made from 11 gauge, two by three inch steel. A scratch resistant powder coated finish provides both durability and style.
XMark plate loaded lat pulldown is made of 3 inch dura craft cushioning. The vinyl covering the seat and rollers is tear resistant. The nylon coated cables are aircraft quality, being tested to 2,200 pounds. You also get a diamond foot plate for seated rowing, that can be flipped out of the way for other exercises.
The Akonza pull down exercise machine is a free standing unit that is solidly constructed from heavy gauge steel tubing and has a maximum free weight load capacity of 395 pounds. It has both high and low pulley stations so you can do seated rowing and cable curls as well as pulldowns. The pulley system is smooth sealed and features high spec ball bearings. This provides a very smooth operation.
The Akonza lat pulldown machine comes with a high and low bar. The foam rollers that lock you in position, are completely adjustable and comfortable. Textured rubber hand grips on the pulldown bar provide a secure grip. The seat height is also adjustable allowing you to get just the right range of motion.
The Valor Power Rack makes our list of the best lat pulldown machines thanks to its high quality, solid and smooth lat pulldown attachment. You get both a high and low pulley with heavy duty pulleys and cables. The pudown is plate loaded, however the plates do not come with your purchase. The 2 inch by 2 inch, 12 gauge steel framing ensures that you get a very solid and secure lifting experience. The power rack also comes with a pull up bar to extend your back workout options. The only downside is that there is no built-in seat for doing lat pulldowns.
Now that you know where to get the best lat pulldown machine, it’s time to fix some common lat pulldown errors that may be robbing you of gains. This handy clip will help you get it right . . .
Lat Pulldown VS Pull Ups
What into most any gym and you’re far more likely to see people lat pulldowns than pull ups. From that you could easily infer that the lat pulldown is a superior exercise. But not so fast – it could be the other way around, with the pull up being the more intense move, capable of getting you bigger and stronger faster. Let’s delve deeper.
When it comes to simplicity of training, the pull up obviously has it all over the lat pulldown. The two moves are virtual reflections of each other; with one you pull the bar to your body and with the other you pull your body to the bar. However, with pull up ll you need is an overhead bar to pull yourself up to.
One the other hand, the lat pulldown is a more accessible exercise. Many people cannot perform even one proper pull up. This often prevents them from even approaching the pull up bar. However, anyone can jump straight into the lat pulldown and begin full range of motion exercises straight away. They can also, of course, progressively increase the weight to allow them to build up to performing a pull up.
When it comes to building strength, the pull up is the hands down winner. Even though you are theoretically limited in strength progression by your body weight you can also add weight plates to your body or perform more advanced variation of the pull up.
In terms of adaptability, the lat pulldown comes out on top. Because you are using a cable, you have the opportunity to work the muscles of your back from a range of different angles. The lat pulldown machine also allows you to perform a whole host of other exercises for the delts, biceps, trapezius and triceps. Many lat pulldown machines will also allow you to adjust the pulley to a low height to perform even more exercises, including seated rowing. The pull up does not allow for this level of variation.
The pull up will involve greater muscle activation than the lat pulldown. The pull up with fire up your lats, traps and rhomboids, as well as your abdominals. In contrast to this, the lat pulldown purposefully locks your body in position so as to keep the cote out of the movement. This limits the muscle activation to the core muscles of your upper back.
Overall, the pull p is the more effective muscle and strength builder. However, there is no reason who you need to choose between them. Why not start your workout with three sets of pull ups to failure, followed by lat pulldowns to various angles? One great variation is to ditch the lat pulldown seat and stand about six feet from the machine, holding the bar slightly narrower than shoulder width. Now squat down so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Stretch out your arms to full extension and then pull in to the ribcage. Perform slow, full reps to really feel the stretch through the lats.
Our favorite cable lat pulldown machine is the Rogue Fitness Monster Lat Pulldown, with its heavy gauge steel frame, capacity for both conventional and Olympic plates and compact, sturdy design. We also loved the Valor Fitness CB-12, which provides high spec cabling and bushes for the smoothest operation and has a durable, rugged frame.
Our favorite budget pulldown machine is the Family Lat / Row machine from New York Barbell, which gives you a solid frame, high and low pulleys and a smooth cable motion for well under two hundred dollars!
My name is Jim Roose. I'm a former competitive power lifter and gym owner. I've bought millions of dollars of fitness equipment over the last 20 years. This site is my way of giving back to the fitness community that's done so much for me. Every article on here is carefully researched and written by me. Leave a comment if you have any questions.